Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Bill [Lords] (Allocation of Time)
Sittings of the House (1 May)
Mark Prisk (Minister of State (Business and Enterprise), Business, Innovation and Skills; Hertford and Stortford, Conservative)
As usual, the hon. Lady is entirely prescient, because that is exactly what I was about to explain. The permanent relaxation of the Sunday trading laws was considered and rejected as part of the Government’s red tape challenge in June last year. A private Member’s Bill subsequently brought forward by my hon. Friend Mark Menzies proposed the suspension of the rules for the period of the games, albeit in a different form from the one being proposed today. Although his proposal was subsequently withdrawn, it focused our thinking on the issue and we came to the conclusion that we should provide for a temporary suspension of the rules, hence the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement in the Budget.
To take full advantage of the suspension, businesses will need to prepare well ahead. They will need to agree trading hours and working hours with staff and ensure that customers know about their extended hours. More importantly, we believe that we need to ensure that shop workers have time to choose whether to work on those eight Sundays.